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H. F. Lutz 

University op Pennsylvania 

The exact significance of the emblem of Osiris, the so-called 
Dd-emblem, which figures so prominently among the Egyptians 
as an amulet, has so far escaped a satisfactory answer. In the 
latest book that touches on this question, the author states in a 
note (see W. Max Miiller, Egyptian Mythology, p. 385, note 3), 
'it may have been merely an old architectural experiment with- 
out any original religious meaning.' The other question which 
Miiller raises, whether the Dd-emblem was originally attached 
to the city of Busiris, or to the city-god, will find its answer 
when a correct explanation of what that sign originally repre- 
sented shall have been given. As long as one considers it to 
represent a pillar, the possibility of the sign embodying the 
emblem of the city of Dedu is obvious. This investigation 
which takes up this question once more, will try to show 
that the Dd-emblem must be considered as one to which an orig- 
inally religious meaning was attached, a meaning however which 
was lost among the Egyptians in a very remote time. From 
Egypt itself we receive no light which would enable us to get the 
satisfactory answer. We have to go outside of Egypt, that is to 
Babylonia to get this information. 

To the later Egyptians the Dd-emblem was a sign which com- 
memorated the resurrection of the god Osiris. As an amulet it 
was considered to procure three things needful to their dead. 
Placed around the neck of the dead, the deceased person entered 
through the gates of, and became glorified in, Duat, and he was 
assured of his sustenance in the other world, being given bread, 
cakes, quantities of flesh on the altars of Re', or as a variant has 
it, of Osiris the good Being. See the 155th chapter of the Book 
of the Dead, which deals with the Dd-amulet. The Egyp- 
tians themselves held that the Dd-emblem signified or sym- 
bolized the backbone of Osiris. Scholars regarded it either as a 
pillar, or as a representation of the universe — the four horizontal 
lines representing four worlds placed above each other. Again 
it was conjectured that it must represent a work-stand upon 

The DD-Emblem of Osiris 197 

which the stone-mason used to lay his tools. Still another inter- 
pretation saw in the Dd-emblem either an altar of four altar- 
plates topped in layers, or a nilometer. That view finally, which 
saw therein a branchless tree-stump, seems to come nearest to 
a right interpretation. In so far at least as that explanation 
connected the emblem with a plant, it was, it seems, entirely cor- 
rect, for we naturally expect that a god such as Osiris, who 
figures so prominently as a nature-god, or as a vegetation-god, 
should in some way have as his most fitting emblem some kind 
of a plant. Plant-life more than any other life also exemplifies 
best the change in nature. Osiris 's chief characteristic was that 
of a god of the change of nature, probably first only of vegeta- 
tion and later of the change in nature in the widest sense. To 
express this in reference to the Sumero-Babylonian mythology, 
before Osiris became the Egyptian Dumuzu, he must have been 
an Egyptian Asar. Scholars for quite some time back have 
pointed out the similarity of the ideographic writing of the 
names of the Sumerian Asar and the Egyptian "Wsr, that is, 
both containing the sign for 'place' plus the sign for 'eye.' 
But not only is the ideographic writing the same, but there is 
also a similarity in pronouncing that ideographic writing, for a 
gloss gives the cuneiform reading of that sign as a-sa-ru (Coptic 
oycipE). If we would have to stop here with the enumeration 
of these two identities, we would only be justified in saying that 
this is a mere accidental coincidence. But we can go farther. 
Not only are the ideographic writing and the pronunciation the 
same in both instances, but there is also an agreement in the 
additional appellations given to both divine names. The Sume- 
rian divine name is always written din « ir Asar lu-dug. Yet 
lii-dug obviously does not belong to the name proper, but is only 
an appellative, i. e., 'Asar, the good Being.' I wish to point out 
here, as I have not seen it mentioned in this connection, that 
the writing of lu-dug has its exact equivalent in the by-name 
of Osiris, wnn nfrw, i. e. 'the one who is good,' or 'the good 
Being,' Coptic OyENOqpE.' For the repeated occurrence of the 

1 The final u in Wsr ivnn nfrw is due to the fact that the Egyptians 
regarded this name as a unit, and therefore affixed the u so common in the 
names of Egyptian gods. In the nom. pers. ISriDK (Lidzbarski, HN8E 
p. 223) the final u is dropped, as it is sometimes omitted also in Egyptian 

198 H. F. Lutz 

name Wsr wnn nfrw see the Book of the Dead, chapters 42, 43, 
70, 92, 100, 129, 145, 146 and 155, etc. We have therefore in 
the Sumerian as well as in the Egyptian nomenclature a complete 
parallel. Again, when we read for instance passages such as 
that in chapter 146 of the Book of the Dead, Wsr wnn nfrw 
ml z -hrw si Ob ms n Nw-t, we are able to translate this Egyptian 
sentence back into Sumerian without any change in the person- 
ages, namely, din s ir Asar lu-dug dumu dingir Enki-ka-ge u-tu- 
ud-da dingir Damgalnunna-ge. The remark which Miiller 
(Egyptian Mythology, p. 41) makes concerning Nut, 'We should 
expect her to be Nun's consort, but she is seldom associated with 
him . . . she is, instead, the wife of the earth-god, by whom 
she gives birth to the sun each morning, ' holds good also of Dam- 
galnunna, who instead of being associated with Nun, is the wife 
of the original Sumerian earth-god Enki. Both therefore, Asar 
and Wsr, have as their father the earth-god and as their mother 
the female counterpart of the abyss. The identities in name and 
parentage will allow us also some important conclusions as to the 
respective emblems of Asar and Wsr later on. 

Before doing this however, I wish briefly to sketch what the 
inscriptions say of this interesting divinity Asar. In bilingual 
inscriptions this god is identified with Marduk. The identifica- 
tion of these undoubtedly different gods must belong to the time 
when the sun-worship was changed from the autumnal to the 
vernal equinox. To express this historically is not easy at pres- 
ent, but it may be possible that the beginning of the astronomical 
spring as the probable commencement of the year may perhaps 
reach as far back as the time of the kings of Ur. That Asar 
originally was a sun-god who represented the winter-, or autumn- 
sun, seems to be implied in such passages as Reissner, Hymn 
No. 1, lines 25 and 29, in which passages it is said of Asar : enim 
dingir £ sar lu-dug sel pa-se-ba mu-(ni-ib-su-sug), which the 
Semitic translates: amat ilu Marduk ebura ina si(manisu 
utabbi), i. e., 'The word Asar, the good Being, floods the har- 
vest with its ripe field-products.' There is obviously a contra- 
diction in the statement of this hymn. How is it possible to call 
a divinity a good Being, who is instrumental in ruining the 
crops of the harvest-fields? Now line 29 of the same hymn 
reads: enim din o ir Asar lu-dug gal-dug a-mah-am kar (alsasa), 
with Semitic rendering: amat <lu Marduk butuktum sa k(dra iha- 

The DD-Emblem of Osiris 199 

sas), that is, 'the word of Asar, the good Being, is a flood 
which tears away the dike.' These two lines show that Asar 
was a sun-god of the winter time. But it also shows that Asar, 
to be true to his appellation, the good Being, must have come 
from a country where the autumnal equinox was beneficial to the 
land. This was not the case in Babylonia. Here Asar, no longer 
a good god, would become a god of destruction, if he remained a 
sun-god of the autumnal equinox. He therefore changed to a 
sun-god of the vernal equinox, but when this change took place, it 
seems also a slight change in his name was made at the same time. 
Asar was henceforth called Marduk. In the name Marduk itself 
we still can recognize the old appellation of Asar; lu-dug, for 
the syllable mar in Marduk contains probably the lit in lu-dug, 
as lii could also be pronounced mulu, which passed into muru, 
mur and thence into mar. The duk is clearly recognizable as 
standing for the Sumerian dug. If it is true that Marduk stands 
for mulu-dug or lu-dug, then the attribute of Asar has survived 
in this name. In this case we are not even compelled to suppose 
that a merging of two different gods has taken place. 

Prof. M. Jastrow in a recent article ('Sumerian and Akkadian 
Views of Beginnings,' JAOS 36. 277) sees in the story of Mar- 
duk 's conquest of Tiamat an original nature-myth, which pre- 
sented the story of the change of season from the winter or 
rainy season to the spring season. For the Sumerian view of 
yearly orientation, as must have been held originally by these 
people, it is interesting to note in this connection what the author 
says on p. 293. I shall give the passage in his own words : 'The 
world ... is pictured as beginning in the fall when the rains 
set in, and not in the spring when the storms and rains cease. 
Such a condition is apt to prevail in mountainous districts where 
the streams are low or entirely dried up in the dry season and 
depend upon the rains to fill them again, in contrast to a moun- 
tainless plain like the Euphrates Valley, where the streams, fed 
from their sources, flow in abundance during the entire year and 
during the rainy season over-flow and cause inundations.' In 
view of the fact that creation falls in the winter season, this fact 
in itself justifies us in concluding that the Sumerian year orig- 
inally began in that season. 

Asar is most commonly known to us as a god who shows his 
kindness {lu-dug) toward suffering mankind and who relieves 


H. F. Lutz 

them of their diseases and the attacks of evil spirits. The stand- 
ing phrase in incantation texts : ' Asar, the good Being, saw him 
and unto the house of his father Enki he entered, ' seems to have 
some reference to his ideogram which contains the sign igi, 'eye.' 
Originally it seems the ideogram had reference only to the ' place 
of the eye, ' that is, 'the sun's eye, ' that is, the sun. The sun-god 
sees everything and therefore knows all things, and as the power 
of light is also the power of goodness and every blessing and the 
enemy of darkness and all evil spirits that roam in darkness. In 
Tablet iii of the utukki limnuti series Asar is therefore called a 

Fig. 1 

Fig. 2 

Fig. 3 

Fig. 4 

Fig. 5 

god that blesses = dingir silim-ma-WM dingir Asar lil-dug, cf . 
CT 16, pi. viii. But as a sun-god Asar is also a god who affects 
nature, and, from the passage quoted from the hymn published 
by Reissner, it can be gathered that Asar was in some way con- 
nected with irrigation and vegetation. The most evident proof 
that Asar was originally a vegetation-god is given us in the 
initial lines of the seventh tablet of Creation. The two lines 
that interest us here only are as follows : il "Asar-ri sa-riq mi-ris- 
(ti mu-kin iz-ra-ti) ba-nu-u se-am u ki-e mu-s(e-si ur-qi-U) = 
' Asar, bestower of planting, founder of sowing, maker of grain 
and plants, who caused the green herb to come forth.' 2 It is 

2 Cf . also King, Magic, No. 12, line 30 : fya-a-a-ad UuAs-na-an u UuLa- 
fyar(1) ba-nu-u Se-am u M-e mu-dis-su-u Sammuurqitu, 'who bestows corn 
and grain (?) who creates wheat and barley, who renews the green herb.' 

The DD-Emblem of Osiris 201 

therefore not merely accidental but only shows more clearly that 
Asar was a vegetation-god when in the rock-relief of Sanherib 
near Bavian this Assyrian representation which pictures the 
different emblems of the twelve great gods, has the form as in 
Figure 1, that is a plant, most probably, to judge from the figure, 
a conventionalized picture of the most valued plant in old Baby- 
lonia, a young palm-tree. This sign was however generally 
explained as being the 'spear-head' of Marduk and therefore 
symbolizing the kakku, the weapon of Marduk. On the Asar- 
haddon stele of Sendschirli this emblem of Marduk has the form 
as in Figure 2, which of all other representations of the emblem 
comes closest to that of Sanherib. The emblem on the Sargon 
stele of Cyprus, which equals the one given in the rock-relief of 
Asarhaddon at Nahr el Kelb, varies somewhat (see Fig. 3). 
Finally on the Cassite boundary-stones we have forms as in 
Figures 4 and 5 (see Hinke, A New Boundary Stone, pp. 91 and 
94). K. Franck, Bilder und Symbole babylonisch-assyrischer 
Gotter, pp. 22-24, is inclined to see in these representations the 
weapon of Marduk, a lance. 

Of all the representations given, it is advisable to pay most 
attention to the one which is obviously the best. That is 
undoubtedly the one on the rock-relief of Sanherib near Bavian. 
This seems to come nearer to a tree than a lance or a spear-head. 
But also in each of the other cases there is nothing which would 
hinder us from seeing the picture of a tree in them. Compare 
for instance the hieroglyph of the iim tree which is used as the 
determinative for trees in general. 

Before we go on it is necessary to clear up a certain misunder- 
standing. This has reference to the so-called 'weapons' of the 
gods. Here we have not to think of real weapons, say a spear, 
a lance, a bow, but simply of the divine emblem. Ill Raw. 69. 3. 
75-83 gives a list of such emblems of gods. It is interesting to 
note that a few of the names of the so-called weapons stand in 
etymological relation to plants. The kakku of Ninib is called 
hihinu, which is related to hahin — thornbush. The kakku of 
Nabu is the it-ti-it-tum, which is related to etidu = nettle. 
Another kakku is named pu-qut-(tum), which equals puqdatu 
or puquttu of similar meaning. Of interest to us here is the 
name of the kakku of Marduk. It is called in this list qa-qu- 
ul-tu. Hinke did not recognize in this connection that also this 

202 H. F. Lutz 

word is etymologically connected with the name of a plant. He 
referred to CT 17, 35, 79 where we have qaq-qul-ti la pa-te-e = 
'a closed vessel,' but otherwise left the connection with other 
words unexplained. But qaqultu is surely related to qaqul(l)u. 
Meissner in ZA 6. 293 identified qaqulum with the Syriac 
kdkola = amomum cardamomum, Low n. 296. Qaqulum equals 
mangu and sametu. If mangu has any relation to mangagu, 
this would fit into our thesis most perfectly, as we know that the 
latter represents some part of the date-palm. Such a connec- 
tion between mangu and mangagu is possible, but cannot be 
proved now. 3 For our purpose suffice it to say that the kakku 
of Marduk is called qaqultu, which word is related to a plant- 
name, a plant which by its equation with others may have some 
reference to the palm-tree or a part thereof. On the other hand 
the custom of calling certain plants kakke sa ildni points to the 
fact that by that expression the Babylonians did not primarily 
mean the weapons of the gods, but their emblems. Weapons 
are not made of wood or of plants, but either of stone or else of 
metal. That kakku stands for emblem is further shown in those 
cases where certain stars are spoken of as being the kakku of the 
gods. For the use of kakku as weapon as well as emblem, or 
coat-of-arms, compare here the relation of the German words 
'Waffen' and 'Wappen. ' Marduk 's weapon with which he 
slew Tiamat was the mittu. But he also is equipped with the 
bow (qastu) and the mulmullu weapon, which is either a lance 
or an arrow, more probably the former. "We have here our 
choice to determine which weapon was Marduk 's weapon in par- 
ticular. Perhaps after all none was his particular weapon at all, 
but only one object was his emblem. This emblem of Marduk 
was the qaqultu-Tpl&nt. Although preserved to us from a later 
time, this emblem must be very old, it must have come down from 
a time in which Marduk must have been held in greater esteem 
as a god connected with vegetation than he seems to have been 
in later times. I can only think in this connection of the possi- 

8 Mangagu apparently represents the diminutive of mangu. Cf. Assyrian 
suqu = suqaqu ' a small street. ' For other instances of the usage to express 
the diminutive eonsonantically through reduplication, compare Neo-Hebrew 
besalsul, 'a little onion' (Siegfr. §53) and Syriac partutd, 'bread-crumb' 
(Noldeke J 122). Cf. also adamddm 'a little red, pink.' 

The DD-Emblem of Osiris 


bility that the emblem was originally that of Asar, and that in 
the time of the complete merging of these divinities Marduk took 
this emblem to himself. 

If this was the case, it would then seem most plausible, in view 
of the identity of the names of Asar and Wsr and their identi- 
cal meaning (lu-dug, wnn nfrw) that we may conjecture that 
both gods had at some time also the same emblem. And indeed 
it does not require a great stretch of imagination to see in the 
Dd sign either a corruption, on account of later misunderstand- 

Fig. 6 

Pig. 7 

Fig. 8 

ing, of the original as given us in Figure 1, or else that it pictured 
the palm-tree, if the qaqultu should be such, which might have 
been simplified to the sign in Figure 6, four horizontal lines rep- 
resenting originally probably four rows of palm-leaves. It is 
strange that as late as the 25th Dynasty there appears a new 
hieroglyphic form of the Dd sign (see Fig. 7), which speaks 
favorably for our view that the Dd-emblem of Osiris is a palm- 

The picture of Osiris (Fig. 8) which was taken to be 'Osiris in 
his pillar' is therefore to be placed in the same category as all 
those pictures, which show Osiris hidden or standing in a tree. 
However, it is very doubtful whether the oldest representation 
signified the celestial tree. There was most probably no cosmo- 

204 R. F. Lutz 

gonic conception at all contained in this picture, but it simply 
stood for the original conception of Osiris as being a vegetation- 
god in Busiris. The custom of planting 365 trees, as it is said, 
around certain of his temples is also significant. This custom 
shows Osiris as the god of changing time and of the year,* but 
here also the tree as the emblem of Osiris crops out again. 

If we admit that there is a striking similarity between the 
Sumerian Asar and the Egyptian "Wsr, this admission may per- 
haps lead to an interesting question as to how far the so-called 
'Southern' elements in the Osiris-myth have any connection with 
the interesting figure of Asar, of whom we have not yet sufficient 
cuneiform material to draw upon more fully. But suffice it to 
say at present that the 'Southern' elements in the Osiris legend 
may not be due to a later confusion at all, a confusion which was 
brought about through a Southern deity of similar attributes to 
those of Osiris, but that Osiris himself may have changed from 
a 'Southerner' to a 'Northern Semito-Libyan ' deity, or to 
express it in other words, Osiris seems to have been first an Asar 
lil-dug, and later developed into a Tammuz. I do not thereby 
wish to give the impression that the Asar myth was the original 
one and was borrowed by the Egyptians from the Sumerians. 
It is more probable that the Sumerians as well as the Egyptians 
got this mythological figure from a third source. 5 

* The Osirian cycle offers in the story of the slaying of the serpent Apop- 
Tiamat at the new-year's day another instance which connects Osiris with 
Asar -Ki-dug. Cf. Sitzungsberichte of the Berlin Academy, 47, 1910, p. 932 
ff. and Miiller, Mythology, p. 106. 

5 The name Asar is not Sumerian and neither is Wsr Egyptian. But Asar 
may well be the name of a West-Semitic deity. I think it is possible to 
show that there is a strong probability that the original home of Asar was 

Asar is the masc. counterpart of Astar, Istar, which latter forms exhibit 
the infixed fem. t. Later when this infixed fem. was no more understood 
as such, a second feminine mark was suffixed, Astartu, ph. 'strt, e.g. 
' (e)stirati 'Aaraprq. South Arabian retains the original form __XjLc 

Asar therefore is -ift. I n connecting Asar with Istar, as must be done, it 
is easy to understand the nature of this god. Like I&tar, out of which Asar 
developed and became differentiated, he was originally, because being at 
some time identical with her, a god of love and fertility. Since their 
differentiation, however, the male divinity was no more brought into sexual 

The DD-Emblem of Osiris 205 

In the same way as Asar the son of Enki is the creator of the 
world, which position Marduk took over at the time of the merg- 
ing of these two divinities, we should also expect that Osiris the 
son of Geb figured originally in the same capacity. And indeed 
the Egyptian inscriptions are not entirely silent on this matter. 
There lingered on into the time of the 18th Dynasty the idea of 
Osiris as creator, which found expression in a hymn to Osiris 
(cf. Chabas, 'Hymne a Osiris,' in Revue Archeologique, 14 e 
annee, 1857, pp. 65 ff.). Osiris is spoken of in the following 
words: ir-nf t% pn m c -f mw-f tlw-f sm-f mnmnt-f nb-t pjjt 
nb-t hnn nb-t ddfwt-f c wt-f, i. e. 'he made this earth with his 
hand, its water, its air, its plants, all its cattle, all flying birds, 
its reptiles, its quadrupeds.' "Wiedemann, in Religion of the 
Ancient Egyptians, p. 213, remarks on this passage that the 
hymn 'thus (is) assigning to him (Osiris) the same work which 
according to the usual acceptation had been carried out by Ra, 
and (is) placing him in a position which is not in logical har- 
mony with that which he occupies in the myth.' This position 
of Osiris is easily explained as 1 being due to the fact that Osiris 
is a composite character, an Asar lu-dug as well as a Tammuz. 

relations, but his nature was enlarged into a god of goodness in general and 
of fertility in the whole realm of nature. Henee his epithet 'the good 
Being. '